Trump performs first commutation of prison sentence as president

Sholom Rubashkin 57 was sentenced to 27 years in prison for 86 counts of financial crimes as well as lying on the witness stand in 2009
Trump commutes sentence of Agriprocessors chief Sholom Rubashkin
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22 December, 2017

President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of a man eight years into a 27-year term for bank fraud, the White House said Wednesday afternoon.

Rubashkin made national headlines nine years ago after federal agents arrived by helicopter at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, and detained almost 400 unauthorized immigrants, including several children, who were working there. Prosecutors misled Reade about their actions leading up to the sale when they scared away potential buyers willing to pay more than the eventual selling price of $8.5 million, the defense team said. He will be on supervised release and still be responsible for the restitution imposed in his original sentence.

The 57-year-old father of 10 submitted fake invoices to a bank that made Agriprocessors' finances appear healthier than they were so that it could borrow more.

Around 300 employees of the plant, many of whom were Guatemalan, served prison sentences for identity theft, and several managers and supervisors were convicted of felony charges of harboring immigrants in the country illegally.

On Wednesday, students at Chabad yeshivas everywhere burst in song and dance after the White House had announced that President Donald Trump commuted the prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, a move supported by leaders "from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) to Orrin Hatch (R-Ut)". In 2016, more than 100 high-ranking judges and prosecutors, including three former attorneys general, signed a letter calling for Rubashkin's sentence to be shortened, citing concerns about the evidentiary proceedings in his trial.

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"The President's review of Mr. Rubashkin's case and commutation decision were based on expressions of support from members of Congress and a broad cross-section of the legal community", according to White House statement. The immigration-related charges against Rubashkin were dropped after he was convicted of fraud.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 refused to hear an appeal contesting Rubashkin's sentence, which his lawyers argued was excessive for a first-time, non-violent offender.

Rubashkin has also been backed by the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic community that has its headquarter in Crown Heights. "The unrelenting efforts on Rubashkin's behalf have finally paid off".

Rubashkin's attorneys a year ago accused prosecutors of improperly interfering with the sale of Agriprocessors and depressing its sale price by millions. Outgoing New York City Council member David Greenfield, an Orthodox Jew who represents the neighborhood where Rubaskin's family lives, called the news a "Chanukah miracle" on Twitter.


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